Public views wanted on cutting barriers to a greener Cayman

| 07/04/2015 | 14 Comments

alternative energy solar(CNS): The Department of Environment is calling on the public to take part in a number of surveys to help raise the country’s environmental consciousness. The DoE said it wants to find out what the barriers are to a more sustainable local lifestyle, as well as to understand public perceptions about being more eco-friendly and the challenges to reducing our collective carbon footprint.

This April marks the 45th annual Earth Month and the surveys are among the various activities being organized across the Cayman Islands. The first survey focuses on alternative energy.

If enough people take part, it will allow the DoE to gauge how the public feels about environmental issues and whether they are willing to make changes regarding energy consumption and if not, why not. DoE officials said the goal is to improve the uptake and use of renewable energy like solar panels, as well as encouraging people to reduce their carbon energy consumption in other ways, such as using public transport, cycling instead of driving, and reducing how much power they consume at home and at the office.

Take the survey

“Throughout Earth Month the DoE is conducting surveys as a part of a variety of activities in order to gain insight on public opinion regarding potential initiatives and individuals’ actions to promote more sustainable lifestyles in Cayman,” said the DoE director Gina Ebanks-Petrie. “We are hoping that collecting information on these issues will allow us to better understand some of the problems associated with renewable energy and carbon footprint reduction efforts so as to better inform recommendations to government.”

Renewable energy in the Cayman Islands is still fairly limited but the recent expansion of CUC’s Customer Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) programme indicates that people are beginning to explore alternative sources of energy. However, there is still some way to go to meet some of the goals and ambitions in the current version of the Cayman Islands National Energy Policy.

The plan calls for a 21% overall savings in energy use from all sectors by the year 2030, a 27% saving in the use of electricity, an increase in the use of solar water heaters and a 20% reduction in water use. Hoping to get more people out of their cars over the next fifteen years, government aims to reduce fuel use for transport by 16.5%, among a number of other goals. The energy plan, it is hoped, will bring down emissions of CO2 by 2030 and move Cayman down the global rankings, as the jurisdiction is currently 33rd in the world, based on statistics from 2010 relating to per capita fossil-fuel CO2 emission rates.

The Earth Month theme for this year is “It’s Our Time to Lead” and various events are taking place throughout April hosted by the Department of Environmental Health, Department of Tourism, Chamber of Commerce, the National Trust, Green Tech, Divetech, Don Fosters, Junk, and the Cayman Turtle Farm. The DoE also has information about Earth Month on its website and Facebook page, including: checklists on reducing your carbon footprint, the carbon challenge score sheet, and daily environmental facts.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (14)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There is SO much opportunity here. Let’s have a bike, scooter and small EV revolution, heavily tax large vehicles by emissions levels and efficiency, unnecessary plastic and other hazardous disposable goods but also encourage responsible consumption. Refuse collection charging is a serious option. Free recycling collection. Cayman’s youth unemployment coincides with a lack of trained professionals in renewables… renewable energy maintenance and installation apprenticeships anyone? With a full on country-wide commitment to being environmentally conscious: Assisting residents, particularly the poorer to be less reliant on the state and on CUC – solar water heaters as a minimum, even exporting more recycling is financially sustainable as parts of the US complain that they are not receiving enough rubbish to keep their recyling centres at capacity, enhanced reputation as a tourist destination, less plastic waste on our islands and in our seas (reducing visual pollution, wildlife deaths etc), eliminating reliance on oil and foreign counties for power, enhanced resilience to natural disasters, better health and lower healthcare costs and mainly…

  2. Anonymous says:

    The biggest obstacle – cost!

    I would love to put solar so I went and got quotes. They were astronomical !! I have no idea why as the cost of solar panels have reduced worldwide significantly over the years. And the solar only produced less than 1/3 my estimated requirement.

    Maybe if the government was serious about having people switch, they can create an incentive by giving people interest free loans to add solar. The homes can be held as collateral. May be better than giving Dart concession upon concessions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe the government can give a rebate of up to x% of planning fees on new private residences that add solar. This sort of concessions for private home owners.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The recycling & reuse center on dump road is happy to help people recycle batteries AC’s Ewaste window frames and auto parts
    The recycle center is located in the warehouses at the first sleeping police man on the left
    Not in the illegal sea container posing as a recycle drop off

  4. Anonymous says:

    Government incentives and CUC and CBP&L getting into the game by offering expertise, product and services would sure help navigate the confusion of this very complex initiative. One would hope that diesel tax income would not stop the CIG from getting in this game, but hope is sometimes a fools game. An important note: CBP&L will not allow anyone to tie in with grid tie inverters in the Sister Islands. They only see a threat, not the opportunity.

  5. Anonymous says:

    For me the simplest way would be to require higher insulation levels in new builds, the cost of building would increase, but as these can be absorbed into a mortgage the pain isn’t so great. Then maybe figure out how to retro-fit existing homes with affordable insulation, heck I reckon there must be an EU climate change grant somewhere to be had to subsidise this. No point buying an energy efficient fridge if you leave the door open, same thing with houses, you can fork out $10k for an energy efficient AC system but if half the savings leak out a badly insulated house what’s the point?

  6. Southsounder says:

    This is a positive step and I am amazed that the DOE has any interest in the matter, bearing in mind Caymans utter contempt for the natural environment.
    Instead of being a leader in renewable energy in the Caribbean, Cayman, the wealthiest nation in the region, has one of the poorest records when it comes to cutting our carbon footprint and we continue to bulldoze every bit of bush we can get a back hoe on to.
    We have no compulsory recycling, no emissions controls for vehicles or power companies and no legislation in place to ensure that all new housing is built to green standards. Even our designated marine conservation zones are plundered and un-policed.
    There is no political will to effect any sort of change, all Governments are the servants of the wealthy elite and as long as the greedy, ignorant and shortsighted control our energy, nothing will ever change.
    I suspect that this initiative is nothing more than a hoop jumping exercise to make some sort of political point…call me cynical but until Caymanians become more interested in protecting what is left of this once beautiful country and stop raping it, nothing will ever improve.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Only two things have held back the development of alternative energy sources in the past two decades –

    1. CUC’s attitude towards it. In 2007/8 they not only ran campaigns claiming that solar energy, wind power and net metering were unworkable but then tried to fend off critics by claiming they were actually looking at an alternative energy source – OTEC – which they knew didn’t work.

    2. CIG’s dependence on tax revenue from diesel fuel that led to their unwavering support for CUC’s stance. In this CUC have been aided by complete ignorance (there’s no polite way to describe it) on the part of the politicians and civil servants involved about the use of alternative energy sources.

    If anyone isn’t familiar with the CUC position I’ll remind you of a few of the points they tried to make in 2007/8 –

    1. Solar power doesn’t work because it gets dark at night.

    2. Wind power isn’t any good because the wind doesn’t blow 24/7. They also threw in claims that the turbines were noisy and killed bats.

    3. Net metering wasn’t safe. Specifically, CUC alleged that the properly certified equipment required to connect solar panels into their grid didn’t exist. That was complete bunk because the required equipment, which includes grid-tied invertors to stop the panels feeding back into the grid during power outages, was in use throughout North America, Europe and the UK.

    What you are dealing with here isn’t any sort of new initiative but a crude attempt to patch over more than 10 years of back-peddling. If this had been left to developers and private individuals rather being strangled by officialdom the Cayman Islands could have enjoyed a significant shift towards alternative energy years ago.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It would be good for the government to make into law the Conservation Bill. That would show the public that the Progressives are serious about the environment.

  9. Anonymous says:

    More survey and consultation reports to sit on the shelf and collect dust. Want to go green, how about fixing Mt. Trashmore and implementing a proper recycling program

  10. Anonymous says:

    Those that care know there is room to improve on the three R’s. In theory, consumers should shun the purchase of any plastic that is not #1 PETE or #2 HDPE and CIG should penalize the importation of non-recyclable products (esp plastics) with higher product duties. But they don’t. With a dangerously overloaded dump, more voluntary participation in the existing glass, aluminum, metal, and plastic recycling would be helpful.

    • Rob says:

      I know we have to start somewhere but the current recycling efforts are very basic. No household collections of recyclables (most developed countries now have dual zone rubbish trucks), ridiculously onerous rules about how recycled stuff has to be presented (wash everything, very limited plastics), etc. the large dumpster in each apartment block and Cayman’s penchant for throwing rubbish in the nearest pond or hedgerow has to change. I have lost count of how many people I have seen finish their drink and just throw the can in the bushes at the side of the road. It’s laziness and ignorance, and there’s no excuse.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is all BS. If electricity usage will be reduced with 27%, then we know the rates will go up by 27%.
    It is just a way to increase profits by reducing cost en increasing rates.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Empty platitudes. They are not interested. Put up your own panels and watch the laws pass.

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